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Kenneth F. Weaver

For the benefit of others: Kenneth F. Weaver is the amazing man who has been providing Christchurch pensioner’s low-cost housing for 45 years

When Kenneth F. Weaver first started providing low-cost pensioner housing in Christchurch 45 years ago, he was amassing joy. Daughter Karen and son Craig talk of how thankful and contented their dad has made many older Cantabrians.

Kenneth F. Weaver
Kenneth F. Weaver

Prospective tenants of their one and two-bed units are eligible if they’re over 60, have less than $25,000 to call on and experience genuine housing need. Once there, they can relax, knowing their comfortable accommodation is secure for life. Often such peace would have been impossible to find. Generally tenants leave only if they require rest-home care.
Now numbering 29 units, and in locations including Abberley Crescent, Barbadoes Street, Hills Road and Trist Place, the Kenneth F. Weaver Trust Inc. homes all boast heat pumps, good insulation and tidy garden surrounds. There’s a tenant waiting list for when a unit becomes vacant. The accommodation is now managed and maintained by the next generation of the Weaver family.

Kenneth F. Weaver

It’s obvious that Kenneth F, now 83, had great foresight in establishing such housing, as the need for it has always remained steady. His charitable work was celebrated in 2005, when he received the Queen’s Service Medal for his outstanding contribution to the community.
Find out more by visiting www.kennethfweavertrust.co.nz.

RLS Redesigned Boutique

Romance revisited: the wonderfully whimsical story of Rebecca and the RLS Redesigned Boutique

Once upon a time, Rebecca Swindell was in her local St Vincent de Paul shop when she spied a shelf of vintage lace and fabric remnants. “The needlework, the hours of love that had gone into creating these beautiful pieces… imagine if they ended up in landfill!”

RLS Redesigned Boutique
Photo Simon Greenwood

Rebecca returned home with her tablecloths, pillowcases and doilies then looked at the rack of op shop garments hanging in her studio. It was 2013, her stall of home décor was selling well at the recently opened Pallet Pavilion, and the op shop clothes were popular, too, but Rebecca’s artistic eye was already envisioning something else. She slipped an op shop dress over her mannequin and got out her pins and tacking thread. RLS Redesigned Boutique was open for business.
Rebecca says she was born creative. “When I was little, I’d sit beside mum while she was working on her sewing machine and stitch away on scraps she gave me; from the age of ten I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer.”
Apart from markets or country fairs, Rebecca’s romantic, wearable works of art can be found at the Lyttle Kiwi, 15 London Street, Lyttelton. She also opens her studio by appointment. “Bring your mum; bring your girlfriends. I love the interaction and the social side of my work. Knowing I’ve dressed someone – to see their elation – that’s the best feeling of success!”
For more information phone 027 3040 484 or find RLS Redesigned Boutique on Facebook.

Angela Stone

A woman of many hats: Q&A with Angela Stone

Angela Stone was just 14 when she started her modelling career, working with top retailers and international brands across Sydney, Melbourne, Milan and London and, at just 21, opened the doors of Portfolio Model Agency here in Christchurch, before starting her own styling business, Angela Stone Consulting Ltd seven years later.

Angela Stone

Today stylist, fashion designer, author, lifestyle guru and full-time mother are just some of the very stylish hats she wears.
Metropol talks to this fashionable entrepreneur ahead of her attendance at the Women Inspiring Women luncheon at the Addington Event Centre which brings together some of the country’s most inspiring women in support of some of the city’s most worthy causes.

Can you tell us about your early career and how you got yourself established in an industry which is said to take no prisoners?

My career has always been so much more than fashion, for me it’s been more about making a difference to how people feel about themselves. I dress people from the inside out. Looking after one’s self on the inside ensures for an even better dressed person.

How does a day in the life of Angela Stone look these days?

I get up at 5am every day, I arrive at the gym at 5.30am, home at 7am, I get dressed and ready for my day which starts at 8am and the rest is unlike any other day. I could be flying somewhere, on a photoshoot, working on events, personal shopping, corporate styling… seriously no two days are the same.

What’s the most enjoyable or fulfilling part of what you do?

I love training. I run a number of training courses and I get to work with people who are looking for next level empowerment.

How do you define style?

Classic, feminine and professional

Who are some of your biggest inspirations?

I love researching our top 100 companies. I listen to inspirational speakers every day while I am working out at the gym. My personal trainer Jamil and my children, because they keep everything real.

What do you see as some of your biggest accomplishments?

The great gains just keep on coming. I am grateful for every up and every down as this has shaped my life.

What are you looking forward to over the next year?

I am so excited to be kicking off my nationwide tour – Teens, Style & Etiquette Course! It’s going to be action-packed.

Benny Castles

King of his Castle: a fashionable Q&A with WORLD Director Benny Castles

He started as a retail assistant, but Benny Castles has worked his way up to the upper echelons of fashion royalty, making his name as the king of colour, with a personal style that is as vibrant and worldly as the brand which he is now a director of.

Benny Castles

Fresh from a whirlwind trip to Dunedin to judge the iD Dunedin Fashion Week for 2018 alongside Karen Walker and Maggie Hewitt, Metropol talks to WORLD Director Benny about how he defines style and pushes the envelope.

You first started at World as a part time retail assistant, what attracted you to the industry?

A job… a welcome alternative to schooling. Little did I know… I had always been interested in fashion and shopping, so it seemed a natural place for me to spend my time – around a host of uniquely interesting people and within an enviroment and business that offered such enticing ideas.

How do you define style?

I do not even try, except to say that it is not an entirely visual pursuit. Style and fashion add to one’s sense of self and, if done correctly, they can express your personality and character in a way that makes you feel the best possible version of yourself.

What is the best part about what you do?

The people. World is a personality brand, it was founded by characters and individuals and this continues through its staff and clients who are all interlinked, even though they are all so different, by a string of personality that makes the brand so much richer. We have a team of eclectic and distinctive individuals and the same can be said of our customers.

World has become an iconic Kiwi label, why do you think it has been such a success and how do you continue to stay ahead of the game in such a constantly evolving industry?

Francis Hooper and Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet who founded World are mavericks, their boundless energy to push the envelope and evolve alongside their self created rules are what has continually made World a brand people can connect themselves to. We care little for what others are doing or what the game currently is, we do what pleases World and hope that our customers will enjoy our independent vision.

What was a standout at this year’s iD Fashion Week?

Inspiration – fashion at its most innovative, emerging and creative should move you. The freedom of emerging designers should elicit a joy in their work and I was pleased to see this spark in the work of what are some very talented designers.

What are some of the things we can look forward to from World this coming year?

Our new World Christchurch store will continue to evolve as we grow our collections of beauty brands and the seasons change. We are continuing to work with a host of artists and creatives on making sure the concept window on High Street and the store itself are ever changing environments.

Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

Sweet as sugar: cuisine Q&A with Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

Sweet versus savoury have been waging a delicious battle against each other for the longest time, recruiting devotees along the way. One of the most dedicated advocates of sugar, spice and all things nice, is Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar.

Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

The sweet toothed cuisine Queen talks to Metropol about her recipe for living a sugar-coated life – the best kind.

You are refreshingly flipping the clean eating obsession on its head, why?

Baking for me will always be about good old sugar, just the way my parents have always baked. There is just no substitute that tastes as good to me. I love food and I’ll give anything a go but this is home for me.
I’ll admit, it’s not friendly on the waistline and I wish I had the willpower to eat healthy all the time, but I just love sugar and carbs too much.

Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

Have you always had a sweet tooth and what are some of your favourite concoctions?

I grew up in my parents’ bakery, so I basically inherited a sweet tooth. My childhood was filled with sweet treats, but I ate way too much of it early on. I got tired of cake (yes, it’s possible) and given the choice, I’d always choose savoury over sweet. It wasn’t until I was 18 when I started baking for myself that I got my sweet tooth back.
My favourite concoction is my chocolate and raspberry brownie. It’s so simple but seriously so good. I can’t tell you how much I’ve eaten (too much) but I’m still not sick of them yet, so that’s a good sign.

Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

You are very generous with your recipes – do you come up with these from scratch or look to innovate existing ones?

I always bake from a recipe. I research a tonne of recipes before I get into the kitchen and have had such good luck finding ones that I love. I make tweaks here and there, but I don’t have the talent to come up with recipes from scratch. I bow down to everyone that can – it’s hard work!
I’d say I’m more of a recipe curator than maker. I’d also happily put my hand up to be a recipe tester if anyone’s looking!

Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

What’s on the horizon for Laced with Sugar?

Nothing as of yet, unfortunately! I’ve still got so much left to learn so that will be me for the next wee while. You never know though, a little Laced With Sugar shop might just be around the next corner!

Lorraine Downes

Lorraine Downes: Healing Heartbreak

From her Miss Universe fairytale to the tragic death of her soulmate, cricketing legend Martin Crowe, Lorraine Downes knows better than most the highs and lows life can throw at you, but she found solace in writing.

Lorraine Downes
Photo: Monty Adams

Published by Allen and Unwin, Life, Loss, Love is the first time she has commented publicly on her relationship with Martin since his death in 2016. She talks to Metropol about heartbreak and the decision to put pen to paper.
Lorraine was just 19 when she became a national superstar, winning the Miss Universe crown in 1983. She married Martin in 2009 and, when he was diagnosed with lymphoma, she became his primary caregiver, waging the four-year battle by his side. “We had a relationship which was on a very deep spiritual level which came from a heartfelt and soulful connection,” Lorraine says of their bond.
“We were our closest allies and always wanted the absolute best for one another. At the end of our time together on this earth, we could not have been any closer. Marty’s comment to me on our last wedding anniversary together on Feb 14, 2016, ‘we have gone from not being able to keep our hands off each other, to not being able to keep our eyes off each other’.”
Heartbroken after his death in March 2016, Lorraine felt like she had no idea who she was or what she wanted to do. “My heart was broken. I took a year off work as I needed to allow myself time to deal with my grief.”
Gradually she began the healing process, spending time alone in Bali, studying Argentinean Tango in Buenos Aires, taking precious time out with her children and, of course, focused on writing her book.
“During Marty’s illness I was writing as we were experiencing and learning so much. After he passed, I continued to write. I just knew intuitively one day I would write my memoir as I had so much to share with the intention to help others through their challenging times.

Lorraine Downes
Photo: Monty Adams

“Writing my memoir was so healing. I think everyone should write their own memoir even if you don’t publish, as it is a very cathartic experience.”
So what’s her biggest piece of advice on grief and healing? “Your grief represents your love, so the greater the grief, the greater the love. It is your grief, so process your grief in your own way, do not do anything you don’t want to do just because you are being told to do it by well-meaning people.
“Keep moving even when you feel you can’t, even if it is for a walk on a beach, in the bush, get out in the sun as nature is a great healer. Know that you will find joy again, one day, when you have processed and healed your broken heart.”

Annabel Langbein

The free range cook: one on one with Annabel Langbein

She’s one of the country’s most beloved cooks, with a cooking style that is as down to earth as her personality. Metropol talks to Annabel Langbein as she tours the country lending her talented hand to a range of worthy causes such as Life Education Trust Canterbury.

Annabel Langbein

How did your love of cooking and baking begin?

When I was very little I used to love hanging out with my mother in the kitchen. She was an amazing baker and there were always delicious beaters and bowls to lick! But before long, I was in there helping to stir and roll, mixing cakes and biscuits. I just loved it. I discovered a magical sense of making people happy when I appeared with a batch of fresh-made biscuits or a cake. As a young kid it was wonderful to get that feeling of success and usefulness. I was hooked for life.

Why do you think your recipes and therefore your cook books have struck such a strong chord in New Zealand?

I’m a very busy person but I like to eat well and I love making food that brings people together around the table. When I started cooking, often things didn’t work out, or I would get lost trying to follow a complicated recipe – and whenever this happened I would lose confidence.
I think a large part of my own success as a writer of recipes comes down to practicality – the recipes use everyday ingredients, they don’t take forever for make, they work and most importantly they taste yummy (you’d think that would be a given, but trust me, it isn’t). When I’m cooking for myself I spend a lot of time working out how to streamline the process and make it failsafe, and I figure if it works for me in my busy life then hopefully it will be useful for other people.

Your new book ESSENTIAL Volume Two: Sweet Treats for Every Occasion is all about the sweet side of life. Are you a bit of a sweet tooth yourself and what are some of your favourite recipes?

I actually don’t have a very sweet tooth, but I love to bake and when I make something sweet I want it to be fabulous. Baking and dessert making is an area of cooking where a good recipe is absolutely crucial, as it’s all about chemistry and ratios.
I love making biscuits to have in the tins when people come over or to take to someone as a little gift. My legendary chocolate chippie biscuits have evolved out of my mother’s recipe, and I love that wonderful idea of carrying on the torch. And I love to make cakes, as they deliver such a sense of celebration that makes any occasion a special occasion.
When I’ve got friends coming over for dinner I’ll always make a dessert as it’s such an easy way to make people feel treated. I love desserts that you can make in advance, from my tart tatin with its gorgeous, rich caramelised apples and crisp pillowy crust, to the silkiest chilled spiced orange crème caramels, my vegan frozen caramel cheesecake, my incredible ice-cream cassata with mandarin and pistachios and my rolled pavlova with apricot cream

How does it feel as a beloved New Zealand personality, to be in a position to support and raise awareness of incredibly worthy causes such as the Life Education Trust Canterbury?

That’s a very nice thing of you to say. I do feel very beloved and it’s something very special for me that I never take for granted. I just love it when people come up to me excitedly to tell me what they’ve been cooking, or that I have helped them to feel confidence and success in the kitchen. I love being part of people’s lives like this, it’s an honour. And being in this trusted position does mean that I can help to make change and put my weight behind important initiatives like Life Education Trust Canterbury. The work they do to help kids build a sense of self-esteem and make healthy choices is so important. If the next generation can grow to be strong and healthy and happy then our New Zealand society will be strong and healthy and happy.

What is the most enjoyable or fulfilling aspect of what you do?

I think it’s about helping people to feel empowered. In my own life I have found cooking to be a rich, strong thread that weaves all the bits of my life together and I feel there is so much merit in the idea of building a good life and a strong family around the table. Food and cooking connects us to nature and the environment, to our friends and family, to our own culture and community, and when we cook with a new and unfamiliar ingredient from some foreign shore it connects us to other cultures. Best of all it connects us to our own creativity.

Check out our competition to win a copy of Annabel’s latest book here  Win with Metropol: Annabel Langbein cookbook Essential Volume Two: Sweet Treats for Every Occasion

Mike King

Mike King’s mission: this funny family man has tasked himself with making a serious difference to New Zealand’s youth

Popular New Zealand personality Mike King may have made his name as a comedian, but these day’s you’ll find him delivering a much more serious message. He’s been heading up and down the country – a 4000km journey – on a 50cc scooter for the past five years, addressing youth suicide. We talk to the mental health advocate about his personal mission for this very worthy cause.

Mike King

How big is the youth suicide issue in New Zealand?

How long is a piece of string? The issue of suicide across the board is big and how we’re dealing with it needs addressing. Currently those in crisis have to ring ‘this number’ or see ‘this person’. Everything is aimed at the person in crisis; nothing is aimed at the 65/70 percent of the population who have no problems.
People hold onto problems for so long and they’re only being referred when they’re at critical point. We’re trying to promote the fact that it’s ok to talk about small problems before they become big ones and someone becomes suicidal.

You’ve been making your way around the country on 50cc Suzukis to raise awareness, why is it such an important issue for you to tackle?

In February 2013 I spoke at a small rural school in Northland which had lost five children to suicide. I have discovered through this experience that our young people don’t feel like us old people are listening to them.
So we went around schools listening, listening, listening. We discovered that all kids, regardless of religion or colour, have the same problems and they’re not talking about them; they’re holding onto them until they become overwhelming.
Their inner critics, the little voice second guessing all their decisions, are huge. From there we worked out a strategy – help the inner critic; he’s the cornerstone of 9 out of 10 of the mental health problems. We need to normalise the inner critics by changing society’s attitudes.
Last year we discovered that of those who will have a major mental health problem, 80 percent won’t ask for help. They don’t feel safe. The simplest thing we could do is come up with a signifier of someone safe. We created a simple wristband with ‘I am hope’ on it. This says: I won’t judge, shame, gossip, ask stupid questions, try and fix everything for you; all you’ll get from me is unconditional love and hope, but most importantly, if you want to talk to someone, I am here.

What are some of the key ways New Zealand can start to make some ground in this area?

Parents need to know that all kids are born perfect. The only thing that can screw them up is us. We apply all these rules and only give conditional love – if you do this or that, pass this test, then I’ll love you. We can understand the logic of that, because we’re adults, but kids are thinking there must be something wrong with them if they’re not getting unconditional love.
If there’s five things they do, four are good and one is bad, we focus on the bad, what we think we’re saying is ‘we love you, but you can do better’, but what our kids are getting is ‘no matter what I do I can never be good enough’. How we’re speaking to our children becomes an inner voice.
These become little criticisms that mean nothing in isolation, ‘yes you’re an idiot I asked for a screwdriver you bought be a spoon’. But that’s one hell of an inner critic we’re planting in our kids’ heads.

How does it feel to be in a position where you can play such a positive role in raising awareness of issues such as this?

It’s a privileged position. We have to be very responsible; people are placing a lot of trust on our shoulders. We don’t take or accept government funding; we’re funded by the public of New Zealand. A lot of organisations out there take government money and public money. That’s like having a wife and girlfriend; you have to lie to please both. We only take public donations and apply for grants, so the public will let us know when we’re out of a job; it keeps you honest. It’s a cool position to be in.

Photography by Johannes van Kan

An arty restoration: Photographer Johannes van Kan captures The Arts Centre coming back to life

Home to one of the most significant collections of heritage buildings in New Zealand, The Arts Centre is a must visit for fans of beautiful architecture – particularly those with an interest in the distinctive Gothic Revival style.

Photography by Johannes van Kan
Photography by Johannes van Kan

Photographer Johannes van Kan had front row seats to the buildings’ extensive restoration after they suffered extensive damage in the Canterbury earthquakes.

Did you have any ties to The Arts Centre prior to this project?

I had previously photographed events and people around The Arts Centre but nothing actually for The Arts Centre itself.

Photography by Johannes van Kan
Photography by Johannes van Kan

What was it like having the freedom to observe the restoration through your lens rather than being told specifically what to photograph?

The freedom allowed me to be expressive. It allowed me to discover images. It was unique as an opportunity and I was very fortunate to be part of it.

Photography by Johannes van Kan
Photography by Johannes van Kan

A lot of the images displayed in your exhibition at Pūmanawa earlier this year were black and white – what was the reason behind that?

Black and white imagery has a simplicity that is very much about using light to tell a story without the complications of colour. Actually, my biggest bugbear was orange cones.

 

Do you think the public understands the amount of work going into the restoration at The Arts Centre?

I would be surprised if many people had a full idea of what’s really involved. It is a huge project made up of many parts with many experts bringing everything together. There were unique skills like lead working and heritage masonry work, combined with modern engineering technology. There were multiple construction companies dealing with complicated strengthening and restoration. If there was another earthquake, I would go to The Arts Centre to be safe.

Did you learn some interesting stories about the buildings or tenants who used to occupy them?

The Arts Centre is full of stories of what people used to do there. The stories I was most interested in were those told by what was left behind in the spaces immediately after the earthquakes.

Photography by Johannes van Kan
Photography by Johannes van Kan

What were some of the challenges of shooting photographs on an active worksite?

Being aware of health and safety was the main one. There was dust everywhere and changing lenses was always a concern. Working in this environment is all about respect. It was important that I had as little impact as possible on the imagery aside from being the observer.

Did you gain an understanding of the stonemasons’ craft?

To understand stonemasonry, you need to wield the tools. You need to strike the stone with chisels. You need to cut, lift, sweat and breathe in the dust – through a mask, of course. I saw what they did and was aware of the care they took but it would take a lot more to understand stonemasonry.

First Table

First in first served: we talk to Mat Weir founder of (now international) table booking service with a twist First Table

The media is not always kind to millennials in this country, but the vision and expertise of Mat Weir of First Table will see them eating their words, as well as some very delicious dinners around the world.

First Table

This innovative and actually useful (because let’s face it, not all of them are) Kiwi start-up is now in three countries and both hemispheres, while working hard on opening in its fourth country this year.
The term win-win is overused, but the First Table concept is genuinely that. It’s like an awesome game of ping pong – the benefits just keep bouncing back between restaurant and diner.
It works like this: participating restaurants release bookable dates on the First Table website. Nabbing the actual first table in the restaurant for that date online enables diners in a party of two to four to eat for half price. The restaurant gets diners into the restaurant early; this encourages other diners into the restaurant.

First Table First Table diners usually get the window seats; the restaurant gets the visual advertising. First Table diners get unhurried service and the food as it should be; the restaurant receives a very positive review. The diner gets to try somewhere new in a cost-effective way; the restaurant is likely to get happy repeat customers paying full price at peak times.
Obtaining a login from the website in New Zealand means you can book First Tables throughout New Zealand, in Australia, London, Bristol and Bath and London in the UK, and Singapore restaurants are soon to be added. There is no membership fee, just an upfront $10 (in New Zealand) when you put your stamp on that First Table online. Mat has aimed for few restrictions, the main one being you can’t book the First Table in the same restaurant twice in row, to spread the opportunities a little wider.
A Queenstown local, Mat started with Queenstown restaurants, followed quickly by Christchurch, where there has been very enthusiastic sign-on both by restaurants and diners. A software developer by trade, he put the concept online himself, as well as doing the sales.

First Table There are now customer and restaurant support and business development managers in New Zealand and Australia and a creative writer in Wellington, plus Mat passed his software development duties onto a new team member. The company employs ten people in Australasia and a mix of locals and Kiwis in the UK.
The First Table philosophy is to be lean and smart: you’ll be smart to join in and lean over your First Table.
Visit www.firsttable.co.nz